WINNIPEG, MANITOBA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/21/13 -- Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this press release.
BMO Bank of Montreal invites customers and members of the community to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Portage and Main Branch during the week of May 20th, 2013.
"BMO Bank of Montreal proudly opened its first Winnipeg branch in 1877 following construction of the railroad. This was a historic moment as it marked the opening of the first BMO branch west of the Great Lakes and helped establish Winnipeg as a financial centre in the West," said John MacAulay, Senior Vice President, Prairies Central Canada Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "One hundred years later, BMO continues to serve the financial needs of this growing community which has more than 650,000 residents and is one of the most culturally and economically diverse cities in Canada."
"For a century, BMO's main branch has proudly stood at the corner of Portage and Main and has been the backdrop for much of this city's modern history, including civic celebrations and royal tours," said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz. "The City of Winnipeg applauds BMO's 100 years in the community and joins in the anniversary of this historic landmark, which has become a cherished part of Winnipeg's architectural heritage."
BMO's History in Winnipeg
BMO's first premises in Winnipeg were on the southwest corner of Main Street and Broadway in a building owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1881, the Bank moved into a new building at the corner of Portage and Main, but the city's rapid growth - 130,000 people by 1910 - soon necessitated more substantial quarters for the Bank. To address this, construction of the main branch at Portage and Main began in 1910 and was completed in 1913.
After World War I, BMO decided to honour its 230 fallen employees. The Bank held an international design competition which American sculptor James Earle Fraser won. His design of a soldier in battle dress was built into a nine-foot bronze statue modeled after Captain Wynn Bagnall, a BMO staff member who was awarded the Military Cross. It was erected on December 5, 1923 on the front steps of the branch and to this day serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
The landmark building went on to serve as both the main branch and western divisional headquarters until 1971, when extensive renovations and restoration work was done to preserve the building's classical elegance while providing a modern and comfortable banking environment.
In 2013, BMO inaugurated an interactive heritage display to showcase the story of both BMO's development and its contribution to community life in Manitoba. The display is located in the Winnipeg Main Branch and is open to the public.
BMO Bank of Montreal Portage and Main Branch 100th Anniversary Celebration Details
-- Tuesday, May 21st-Saturday, May 25th, 2013
-- Tuesday, May 21st: Open House for local business community-- Saturday, May 25th: City "Doors Open" event from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CT, including complimentary beverages and a tour of the branch
Where: Winnipeg Main Branch - 335 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
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Russell Baker, Toronto
Cally Hunt, Toronto